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Carson Palmer

SELECTED BY SAN DIEGO , ROUND 1, PICK 1, OVERALL PICK 1
QB | (6-5, 232, 4.8) | USC
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: High school All-American who was hyped nearly as much as John Elway was coming out of high school. Started USC's last four regular-season games and its bowl game in 1998, completing 130-of-235 passes for 1,755 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Completed 39-53-490-3-0 in '99 but broke his right collarbone in Game Three and redshirted. Came back to start every game in 2000 and '01. Completed 228-415-2,914-16-18 in 2000 and 206-351-2,567-13-12 in '01. Completed 288-458-3,639-32-10 in '02 and won the Heisman Trophy. Completed 21-of-31-303-1-0 in USC's Orange Bowl victory over Iowa.

Positives: Great mechanics, good feet, size, arm and accuracy. Plays hurt. Has big, 10-inch hands. Started 32 games in four years, has lots of stats at a major school and played in some big games. Good athletic ability and touch. Made rare improvement and was highly productive. Played within offense. Has timing, touch and accuracy. Can sidestep the first move and drop the deep ball. Accurate on deep and seam routes. Is good on swing routes and plays within himself. Is better on the move and made large strides when he had the same coordinator two years in a row (Norm Chow). Has stretches when he seems to have pinpoint accuracy and the ability to pick up his secondary receiver.

Negatives: Lacks a quick arm like Elway or Mike Vick and has some windup and three-quarters arm delivery. Forces ball, making dumb mistakes at times. Doesn't have much personality or fire and is a marginal leader, who seems to lack the persona to attract teammates as followers. Average scrambler. Has short accuracy and is inconsistent on short-to-medium and long passes. Erratic, hot-and-cold player who lacks velocity on deep out. Does not have great instincts and intelligence or IQ. Streaky and loses poise and confidence. Can improve technique and accuracy. Slow reactor. Lacks field vision. Better in rhythm system. Ran a limited offense and loses accuracy when pressured, but he will throw away and take a sack. Good but not great arm. Has questionable mental toughness and is questionable at handling pressure. Tends to bird-dog his primary receiver.

Summary: Palmer finally put everything together as a senior and should be the first quarterback, if not the top player, selected in the draft.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.